Watermark Levels Rising

Once considered as variations of issued stamps of little interest and frequently ignored by stamp catalogues, unusual watermark varieties today count among the most highly sought philatelic rarities.

Driven by enthusiastic online bidding from collectors around the world the sale total for the British Empire & Foreign Countries auction held at Grosvenor on March 17 left its pre-sale estimate far behind, reaching the remarkable figure of £520,771 due in no small part to the prices achieved by these popular varieties.

Assembled painstakingly over decades the watermark collection of the late Bryant Rose focused on stamps produced for the Falkland Islands from 1878 to 1928 by printers Bradbury WiIlkinson and De La Rue. A new discovery among these, the 1881 4d. grey-black showing watermark upright reversed [lot 312], was bid strongly to £3,348.  Used examples of the 1904-12 3s. green with watermark inverted [lot 410, S.S. 49aw, cat. £3,250] and the 1912-20 5s. maroon with watermark reversed [lot 426, S.G. 67bx, cat. £5,000] reached £4,960 and £5,952 respectively. Unpriced by both the Gibbons and Heijtz catalogues, the mint 1921-28 1d. dull vermilion with watermark inverted [lot 440, S.G. 74aw] achieved a price of £3,596.

From Cyprus the used example of the 1904-10 30pa. with watermark inverted [lot 239] reached £967 and from Malta the 1885-90 1d. watermark inverted [lot 817] £558.

Elsewhere in the sale prices for China and India in particular remained very firm with a rare group of 34 India Official 1925 Surcharge Essays [lot 706] soaring to £16,200.

Full listings of the prices realised from this sale may be downloaded. Contact Tom Margalski for further information.

News item published on: 22 March, 2021